European football always features some of the most exciting games of the season. Year after year we witness the same teams facing each other in the EFL but in Europe, you rarely play the same team twice, and if you do, the players have all changed around anyway! It’s an exciting chance to see how you fare against the rest of Europe and allows you to experience football on foreign soil.
In Europe, there are three chances to win some silverware: the coveted Champions League trophy, the Europa League trophy and the Super Cup. Both the Champions League and Europa cup require you to finish high in your country’s top tier in order to participate, whereas the Super Cup is the final match between the UEFA Champions League winner and the UEFA Europa League winner. Last season we saw two English teams face each other for the Super Cup, Liverpool and Chelsea. It’s the beginning of the next season and time to bet on UEFA Europa League winner – will we see an English side win again? Only time will tell.
The UEFA Cup was renamed to the Europa League in the 2009/10 season. Although the name changes, the premise of the title remain the same, to qualify you have to finish the season ranked immediately below those who have qualified for the Champions League in your country’s top tier. It is known as the second-tier of European football. We’re going to take a look at the finals with the most amount of goals in the Europa League and UEFA Cup since it began in 1971.
5th place – Sevilla vs Middleborough
In the season 2005/06, we saw Spanish team Sevilla come up against the English side Middlesbrough. It was a first for The Boro to make an appearance in a European final and also the last time the club has qualified for European football. For Sevilla, although they had played in European football before, this was their first of five title wins in Europe. The game saw an impressive attendance of just over 33,000 people but for the Middlesborough fans, the trip to Eidenhoven was wasted. The Boro were obliterated by the Spaniard side, a painful 4-0.
4th place – Chelsea vs Arsenal
The all-English final last season makes it onto the list in 4th position. Chelsea defeated Arsenal in a 4-1 win at the Olympic Stadium in Baku. Thousands of fans made the trip; in total the attendance was 51,370. All the goals on the night came in a rather eventful second half, two from the boot of Eden Hazard, who has now transferred to Spanish club Real Madrid. The Blues then went on to play Liverpool for the Super Cup but lost on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
3rd place – Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Twente
One of the most unexpected finals came when the West German side and Netherland side met at the end of the 1974/75 season. It is the only time that Twente have competed in the Europa Cup final, and for Borussia Mönchengladbach, the first time they won the Europa Cup, with a staggering 5-1 win. The two teams saw a fair amount of success in the 1970s in their respective home leagues, but since then have both faced huge decline, including a near ending of existence for Twente and relegation for Borussia Mönchengladbach.
2nd place – Real Madrid vs Köln
In 1986 we saw Spanish legends Real Madrid face German side Köln and go on to defeat them 5-1. Real Madrid has always seen success in competing in Europe, although it’s usually in the top tier of European football, the Champions League. However in the two seasons that they have participated in the UEFA Cup (1984/85 and 1985/86 seasons), they have been clinical and won both. For Köln, it seemed as though they just didn’t turn up on the day. The club still participates in top-flight European football, although some regard them these days as ‘the worst team in the Bundesliga’.
1st place – Liverpool vs Deportivo Alavés
The final with the highest number of goals was in the 2000/01 season, where we saw English club Liverpool face Spaniard side Deportivo Alavés. This also happens to be one of the tensest football finals ever as it included a Golden Goal. When a game goes into full-time as a draw, extra time occurs but under the old rules that meant Golden Goal – whoever scores next wins. The rule was introduced but disbanded in most FIFA games by 2004 and now instead we would see extra-time of 30 minutes followed by a penalty shoot-out, arguably a much fairer way to decide a winner. Unfortunately for Deportivo Alavés, the golden goal came from Delfí Geli – their own defender. That’s right, an own goal allowed Liverpool to claim their third UEFA Cup title.